Fortunately, there are many people who already understand the importance of music education in our schools because they enjoy music, have performed music or have a child or friend involved in a music program. Most of these people already support our goals. Unfortunately, there are others, who may be in policy-making positions, who do not consider music instruction as a priority in our education system. Instead of arguing that those people have their priorities wrong, we can broaden our message to convince them that music education provides a variety of benefits that can contribute to success in other areas. There are many ways that music education relates to other issues that may be higher priorities to policy makers.
The following are some suggested messages you can incorporate into your news media contacts that could be effective in broadening the base of support for music education among the public, administrators and elected officials:
• Music education can improve student performance that is reflected in campus accountability measures and school rankings.
• Music instruction improves overall academic performance because the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) in the music include many of the same concepts and skills as the TEKS in math, science, reading and social studies. Thus, the music can help students learn the skills and content that are tested by TAKS.
• Research has proven a direct correlation between improved test scores and the length of time spent studying the music.
• At-risk students who are involved in music programs are less likely to drop out of school.
• Music education in public schools contributes to future economic development and job creation in the state.
• The cultural arts have a substantial impact on the Texas economy and account for 15.7 percent of the state’s permanent jobs and 13.6 percent of the state’s gross product, according to a study by The Perryman Group in 2001.
• Success in global economic competition in the years ahead will require a creative and innovative workforce and our education system must provide opportunities for students to develop their creative talents through arts education.
• Music education promotes creativity and cognitive ability that give job applicants a competitive advantage in seeking high-skill jobs.